AIA, AGC Urge President, Congress to Adopt Measures to Boost Design and Construction Work

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have issued a joint statement urging policy makers to take immediate steps to create jobs in the design and construction industry.

On the eve of the Obama Administration’s major jobs initiative, the AIA and AGC said the effort is designed to highlight how vital the design and construction industry is to the health of the entire economy. The announcement notes that the industry employs more than 5 million people and has suffered from unemployment of one and one-half to two times the national average over the last three years.

“It is no secret that this economic crisis has been devastating to our communities, our country, and our profession,” states AIA president Clark Manus, FAIA. “The AIA believes that policy makers must enact key pieces of legislation that focus on the built environment.”

“The value of construction put in place each year equals between 5 and 8 percent of annual GDP,” notes Kermit Baker, the AIA’s chief economist. “The goods that this industry provides are the buildings and infrastructure that define our built environment and provide the foundation for a modern, developed nation.”

“The devastating problems facing the construction industry are crippling our broader economy,” says Stephen Sandherr, the chief executive officer of the AGC. “You can’t fix our economy until you fix the construction industry.”

“Investments in transportation and water infrastructure, schools and hospitals not only create jobs immediately in the design, construction and manufacturing sectors, but these investments also create assets that improve productivity and quality of life for decades in the future,” adds Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC. “Similarly, allowing these assets to deteriorate costs the economy dearly, and makes future construction more expensive.”